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The Traveling Retailer's Bedding Sales Tip #5: The Chicken, The Egg and USA This Weekend

Furniture World News Desk on 9/8/2015

by Gordon Hecht

You may have missed it, or probably didn’t notice, but there was no USA This Weekend in your Sunday Newspaper yesterday. You know the insert-about 16-20 page insert full of celebrity gossip, recipes that look good, but you’ll never make, and some third rate ads for weight loss, bunion removal, or mail order stretch pants. The Gannett News Service ended the 30+ year run of the magazine due to back –to-back losses of $10 million in 2013 and 2014.

Unless you are a big fan of the JUMBLE WORD Puzzles, you probably won’t miss USA This Weekend. However, its demise is a huge warning sign for how you invest your advertising dollars. USA Today is in business for the same reason that you are- to make MONEY! The reason they lost $20 million in two years is the old Chicken and the Egg story. It’s hard to figure out which came first. Newspaper income comes from two major sources; Subscription Revenue and Advertising Revenue. And like in your business, many fixed costs remain the same, and don’t vary with revenue increases or decreases.

We all know that newspaper readership is down, WAY DOWN in some cases. Less people see a newspaper, so there are fewer ads. Since there are less ads and less ad income, coupled with less subscription income. Fixed costs are the same, so the remaining readers pay more; the remaining advertisers pay more, leading to… still fewer readers and fewer advertisers.

However, conventional wisdom says that people still get the Sunday Paper. Some get the Sunday Paper just for the ads, comics, and inserts. We, and your local newspaper rep, cling to that story for dear life! But the fact is that USA could not sell enough ads in their magazine DUE TO THE DECREASE in readership! Further, your local newspaper is selling less Sunday papers-and they had to cut costs. Most local papers have little else to cut, so they simply decided to not add paid for inserts, like the USA this weekend. Distribution fell 75% from a high of 70 million weekly copies to 18 million copies. By the way-USA’s competitor PARADE Magazine has seen a 50% drop in distribution-64 million to 32 million in that same period of time.

The upshot is-more people get their news electronically, TV of course, but also right off the internet. And an overwhelming majority of shoppers go to the major search engines when they need to shop, Google, AOL, and even Bing! If we were in the fishing business, we would have abandoned the fishing hole of the newspaper-where they simply are not biting, and move to the internet stream, where-with the RIGHT BAIT, you can catch the limit in no time!

I’m not saying that all newspaper advertising is bad, or that it won’t work in your market. What I am saying is that if your investment in newspaper adverting is more than 50% of your investment in electronic media (no more than $500 investment in ROP for every $1000 in TV, Cable, Internet) you are not maximizing your cash investment; and you are fishing in the wrong pond!

By the way, you can still get the USA This Weekend in your home. It’s now online.

Gordon Hecht is a Growth and Development Manager for National Bedding Company’s America’s Mattress stores, nearly 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta-branded and America’s Mattress-branded mattresses. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and National Director of Sales. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line, Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.

Joining National Bedding Company in 2014, as part of the Serta Retail Concepts Group With over 400 stores, America’s Mattress stores is one of the fastest growing bedding retailers in the country.

Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines.

Read other articles by Gordon Hecht